Trial of David

(1 Sam 17:4-8 NIV)  A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. {5} He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels ; {6} on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. {7} His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. {8} Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.

In his youth, David was met with a great trial. His people was challenged to fight by a giant named Goliath. In the natural, David would never have been able to overcome this challenge. The Bible took time to describe how formidable Goliath was and David was just a youth. He was not even the equivalent of an average soldier of the Israelite army. In the words of King Saul, David was just a youth and Goliath had been fighting since he was a youth!

In our daily lives we also meet this kind of challenges. Tasks that seem too difficult for us in the natural can be accomplished the same way David defeated Goliath.

(1 Sam 17:45 NIV)  David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

The secret of David’s victory is in his reliance of God. David knew his real weapon is the God who will fight on his behalf. Does that mean that David need not have to fight? No. David still had to pick the stones and aim it at Goliath with his slingshot. But he knew God was with him throughout that whole process and God will use his “amateurish” fighting technique to accomplish great things.

When we face great difficulties, we do not just pray and do nothing. We continue to do what we can to solve the problem but always mindful that God is the one who will help us to overcome our problems.

(Phil 4:13 NIV)  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

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The next trial of David is Saul’s pursuit of him to kill him. David had become very popular after his slaying of Goliath and this has made King Saul jealous. Saul tried to kill David from that point onwards because he was afraid that David would take over his throne.

(1 Sam 18:6-11 NIV)  When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. {7} As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” {8} Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” {9} And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. {10} The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand {11} and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

From then onwards, David was constantly running away from Saul. Despite how Saul treated David and the opportunities David had to kill Saul, he did not do so. David had a good sense of God’s timing and purpose for his life. God, through the prophet Samuel, had already anointed David as the King of David. David knew that in the end he would become king and he was not going to take things into his own hands. He was willing to let God make him king in His own timing. He would not take things into his own hands to kill Saul himself. Throughout this whole ordeal, he treated Saul with respect and regarded him as God’s anointed leader.

(1 Sam 24:1-6 NIV)  After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” {2} So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. {3} He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. {4} The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.'” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. {5} Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. {6} He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”

David was able to forgive even those that wanted to harm him. Far from taking vengeance on the house of Saul, David inquires if there is anyone left of it, so that he may show kindness to him or her.

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Now David is firmly in power and he has been enjoying prosperity and success. That may be as severe a trial as adversity. When we are going through adversity, we are usually on guard in case we sin. But when everything is going our way, we let go our guard and easily fall into sin. David’s fall came when he was at the peak of his fame and fortune. One look at a beautiful woman bathing on the housetop and David was plunged into sin.

(2 Sam 11:1-4 NIV)  In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. {2} One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, {3} and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” {4} Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.

We read from the passage that David was complacent. At a time when kings are supposed to go off to war, David chose to take it easy and remained in Jerusalem. That relaxed attitude has other more serious consequences. David was probably also relaxed in other areas of his life. He was no longer on his guard against sin. Previously when he was pursued by Paul, he constantly kept himself from sinning against God’s anointed. Here we don’t see the kind of vigilance anymore.

When we let go of our guard against sin, it will establish a foothold in our life. That is why it is so important to brush off the slightest contact with sin. We should treat sin like a leech. Once it falls on us, we brush it off with great force lest it attaches itself firmly to our skin and suck our blood.